Truck Driver Safety Tips Every Professional Driver Should Abide By
There are around 3.5 million truck drivers making their way up and down the United States.
You’ve signed the dotted line with your new employer and you’re about to reap the many benefits of being a truck driver. From traveling to a decent paycheck, you’re ecstatic.
But are safety regulations different from regular drivers? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about truck driver safety tips.
Who Falls In the Trucker Category?
A truck driver or trucker is someone who drives a truck with a capacity of over three tons to transport materials to and from A to B. It doesn’t matter if you have been doing the job for years, this applies to both old and new drivers. Every safety precaution applies to you to ensure your safety.
Our Top 10 Tips to Truck Driver Safety
To ensure you’re safe on the road, consider these tips. For instance:
1. Wear Your Seat Belt
A survey found 74% of drivers who died would’ve survived if they were wearing seat belts.
One of the top trucking safety tips is to always wear your seatbelt. If you don’t, you put yourself and others at risk either by collision or if you smack your head against an object, so you get knocked out unconscious.
2. Avoid Using Your Cell Phone When Driving
Chatting, texting or scrolling goes against everything in basic truck driver safety rules. Professional truck drivers aren’t allowed to use their cell phones when driving so they can fully concentrate.
3. Never Drive Under the Influence
Even though it’s obvious, this is a significant truck driver safety message to add to the list. Substances risk impairing your vision and judgment and alongside safety issues, it also puts your job on the line. Running the risk of losing your job is something that you should never have to think about, but if your employers regularly conduct a 5 panel test of street drugs or something similar, they will know who is prone to taking drugs before they’ve even hired them. In turn, this could reduce the chances of people driving whilst under the influence.
It’s important to note that some medications are dangerous to mix with driving like opioid pain relievers, anti-seizure drugs, and various types of antidepressants.
If you need to take these, consult with your physician beforehand to ensure it’s completely safe.
4. Hazards and Visibility
Regardless of whether it’s road construction or winter season, you must avoid a range of hazards like potholes, animals, traffic, lane restrictions, and pedestrians.
5. Be Mindful of Your Truck’s Space Cushion
Another one of our favorite truck tips is monitoring the “space cushion” around the truck to ensure they’re not too close to other objects. To be exact:
- Height above (e.g tunnels)
- The surface below (e.g speed bumps)
- Space in front of the vehicle (including turning space)
- Rear space behind (e.g backing space)
- Space on driver and passenger side (e.g. toll booths)
Truck drivers must be mindful of these to prevent any collisions and to maintain trucking safety.
6. Turns and Curves
As a truck driver, you must practice slowing down in turns especially on the entrance or exit ramps. It’s important to note that many ramps are designed for smaller vehicles so you must slow down to avoid any rollover accidents.
A rollover incident may happen for various reasons like taking a curve too fast, high winds and trying to get back on the road once your tires slip off it.
7. Keep a Proper Stopping Distance
A moving loaded truck takes longer to stop, so you must keep plenty of space between you and the vehicle ahead. Stopping distance doubles on a slippery road so you must reduce your speed 1/3 quicker on wet roads to avoid accidents.
8. Get Insurance
Truck drivers drive up to 110,000 miles a year, and with ample time on the road, many things could happen.
Luckily, truck driver insurance covers a variety of models from cargo vans to utility trucks. You must get general liability insurance as it gives you and others coverage for their property during a vehicle accident.
Physical damage coverage is also crucial as it can revitalize your truck in case of an accident like fire, theft, or vandalism. If you’re interested, you can find out more.
9. Have Great Eye-Sight
A major cause of accidents is not being able to see danger around you. You must look well ahead to ensure you can stop and change lanes without bumping into other vehicles.
Great truck drivers look 12 to 15 seconds ahead so the truck will travel in the same amount of time. Another risk is driving at night as you can only see as far as the illumination cast by your headlights. Because of this, you must drive slowly so you can stop within the distance of the headlights.
Truckers call driving faster than this “overdriving” the headlights which are potentially dangerous. This is because once you see the hazard, the object will be closer than the distance it takes for you to stop.
10. Eat a Balanced Diet and Get Enough Rest
Plenty of sleep and a healthy diet will keep you more alert on the road. Before your shift, make sure you are completely rested and pull over if you’re feeling sleepy.
Bring along light snacks and stretch your legs during the journey. Fruit, low-fat string cheese, unsalted nuts, and beef jerky make great pick-me-up options.
Avoid sugary drinks, junk food, or eating heavy meals as they can make you drowsy, which could be fatal behind the wheel.
Those Are Our Favorite Truck Driver Safety Tips
You must follow these truck driver safety tips to ensure you and others are safe on the road. Start by getting insurance in case of an accident, and get your eyes tested if you’re worried about your eyesight.
Never drive under the influence or use your cell phone as it puts you and others at risk. Bring along healthy meals, stay alert, and be mindful of your “space cushion” so you have a comfortable, safe ride. Good luck!
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